February 21, 2007

LCD Returned to Power

The Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) was declared as the winner of the 2007 general elections, winning most of the 80 contested constituencies in the 17 February poll. In final results announced by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), the LCD won in 61 of the directly contested constituencies while its main challenger, the All Basotho Convention (ABC) came second with 17 seats and the Alliance of Congress Parties (ACP) got one seat. The LCD, led by Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, has been in power since May 1998.
The ABC was formed in October 2006 by former communications minister, Thomas Thabane, who, together with 18 other parliamentarians, resigned from the LCD government after complaining of non-delivery.
Lesotho is a constitutional monarchy in which King Letsie III serves a largely ceremonial function. According to the country's constitution, the leader of the majority party in the National Assembly automatically becomes prime minister. The country uses the dual electoral system under which 40 more parliamentary seats are allocated on the basis of proportional representation system. Under the system, the party with the largest number of elected candidates will get the biggest share of the 40 extra seats. Thus, the LCD should pick up at least 30 more seats, giving it more than 75 percent of the 120 seats in parliament.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Electoral Observer Mission praised the Basotho people for their high level of political maturity during the elections. The elections were declared "credible, free and fair". John Chiligati, head of the SADC mission and Minister of Labour, Employment and Youth Development in Tanzania, said this was evidenced by the peaceful behaviour of political leaders and their supporters during the voting process. "There has been no reported violence at polling stations, even though voters queued for long hours in the heat," he said. The SADC observer mission had teams deployed to most of the 80 constituencies being contested during the Lesotho polls.
These were Lesotho's sixth polls since independence from Britain in 1966. Previous post-independence elections were held in 1970, 1985, 1993, 1998 and 2002. (Southern African News Features, Harare)


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